Australia Report Assaults Christian Marriage over Domestic Violence

Recent attacks by the secular mainstream media have brought into question the relationship between Christian marriage and the prevalence of domestic violence.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) championed a report called, “Submit to your husbands: Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God.” Its controversial subtitle, “Advocates say the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it,” helped drive its bias home as well.

This anti-Christian series prompted a heated debate between defenders and critics of religiously-based marriage and the works cited numerous cases of abused Christian wives who, reportedly, had not received the full support of their pastor or Christian advocate.

The Australian media outlet left a lingering impact that the Evangelic position on traditional, complimentary gender roles increased the likelihood of domestic abuse. The outlet pressed the idea of a male dominated relationships lacking mutual compassion. While this piece ran in many parts of the world, Christians and religious academics have raised concerns that this type of anti-Christian coverage will grow prevalent in the United States.

Written by Julia Baird with Hayley Gleeson, “Submit to Your Husbands” presents stories about husbands and wives that are beyond the pale. The men shout insults at the women and claim they are failing on all fronts. These are highlighted by what some readers may consider more caricatures than true-life accounts. The tales trail back to arguments that involve references to the Bible to make its case.

“Your problem is you won’t obey me. The Bible says you must obey me and you refuse,” the husband yells in the story. “You are a failure as a wife, as a Christian, as a mother. You are an insubordinate …..”

The article goes on to point out passages that relate to the husband-wife relation in the Bible.

But experts such as W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow of the Institute for Family Studies, points out that the ideas and snippets from scripture perpetuate a common misconception about Christian marriage and male aggression.

“In my previous book, ‘Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands,’ I found that women married to churchgoing evangelical men — compared to women married to men in other major religious traditions or women married to unaffiliated men — report the highest levels of happiness,” Wilcox states. “Their self-reports were based on two markers: ‘love and affection you get from your spouse’ and ‘understanding you receive from your spouse.’ This same demographic of women also report the highest levels of quality couple time.”

Wilcox argues that the data suggests the complete opposite of the Australian-promoted domestic violence series.

“Men and women who attend church together are almost 10 percentage points more likely to report that they are “happy” or “very happy” in their relationships, compared to their peers who attend separately or simply don’t attend religious services at all,” Wilcox states. “On average, then, evangelicals (as well other religious believers in the United States) who attend church regularly enjoy higher quality marriages compared to their less religious or secular peers.”

But the pertinent question is: are Evangelical Christian women safer in their marriage? In general, the data trend seems to indicate that Christian marriage suffers less domestic abuse.

Research conducted by sociologist Christopher Ellison and others discovered lower incidents of reported domestic violence among those that regularly attended services. The research also pointed to lower rates in those who cohabitate and attended services.

“Compared with a woman who never attends religious services, a woman who shares similar demographic characteristics but attends several times a week is roughly 40 percent less likely to be a victim of domestic violence.” Consistent with the research, “men who attend religious services several times a week are 72 percent less likely to abuse their female partners than men from comparable backgrounds who do not attend services.”

Taken as a general factor in terms of domestic abuse, religious faith tends to have a positive overall impact on marriage. Things that support a positive marital foundation include family-friendly community networks, the fellowship-building aspects of church participation and the fact that Faith and Love tend to help reduce stress. The deepest spiritual marriages, in which husbands and wives pray and confess with one another, demonstrate the highest levels of joy and family prosperity.

Despite the seemingly contrived attacks by secular members of society to present a distorted view about blessed Christian marriages, research supports the likelihood that women and men enjoy more fruitful relationships.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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